One of the best ways to succeed jumping at a show is to get your horse as familiar as possible with a variety of jumps in the safety of your own arena. Most jumps at shows are fairly straightforward – vertical and oxer. What so often scares horses are the bright colors, flags, flowers and other design elements.
And after a few years, your horse jumps looking a little tired and weathered? Jumps take quite a beating, and without regular care, their appearance can quickly deteriorate. If you’d like to put a little life back into your jumps or make them more of a challenge, we’ve come up with some great ways that you can refresh your jumps.
Sand and Paint
One of the simplest ways that you can revitalize your jumps is by sanding and repainting them. Pick a day when the weather is nice, gather up some friends, and have a jump painting party. Before you paint the jumps, take coarse sandpaper and sand off any existing loose paint and rough edges. Then, get to work with a paintbrush. When you’re painting, don’t forget to pay attention to your jump cups. Metal cups often rust and start to look worn within a few years. If this is the case, take some sandpaper to the jump cups and then follow up with a spray paint intended for metal use. To prolong the life of the cups, use a rust-inhibiting paint for a new finish and added protection. If painting really isn’t your thing, you can have your jump poles looking new again by adding store-bought pole covers. These covers slip easily over your jump poles, but work best with PVC poles.
Pick Up Paint for Cheap
Worried about your budget? Head to the “oops” section of your local hardware store or home improvement center. This is the section where paint colors were mixed and came out in the wrong shade. You can find some great paint colors in the “oops” section for an excellent discount. If you have particular colors in mind then you may be out of luck, but if you’re open-minded then you might find some color combinations that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
Flowers can spruce up any jump. Whether working them into the base of the jump standards or creating an actual flowerbox jump, they instantly add life to your fences. Pick up fake flowers for cheap at your local dollar store, and keep an eye out for sales on flowers at craft stores. You’ll get the best bargains when you buy the fake flowers as they go out of season and the stores are making room for the next floral trend.
Add Other Natural Elements
Using logs or branches with a jump can make them more interesting for your horse. And if you are considering doing a hunter pace, it’s good to get familiar with these natural elements.
Use a Tarp
No Liverpool? No problem. A blue tarp works just as well, and you can get a tarp for a fraction of the cost of an actual Liverpool jump. For an added challenge, try draping the tarp over jump poles to make scary fences.
There are plenty of things you can probably find around the barn to make new and interesting jumps – railroad ties, barrels, tires, safety cones, etc. Don’t use any materials that are flimsy or that could break easily. Make sure all jumps are safe and secure before using.